» Think about our wildlife in winter


A perspective from Oregon’s mid-Willamette Valley

Think about our wildlife in winter

Written December 15th, 2016 by Hasso Hering
Can you tell if this was one deer going and returning, or two going the same direction?

Hard to tell if this was one deer going and returning, or two going the same direction.

Winter weather should make us think of the wildlife around the places where we live. And if not, the occasional tracks left in the snow remind us that people are not the only ones suffering in the cold.

Wild animals have been surviving Oregon winters for eons. But I think we have made it harder for many species other than our own by cutting down woodlands and brush and putting houses, landscaping, and streets on so much of the land outside the cities.

Not much we can do about it now, I guess. But if you have a yard that you share with various animals, you might consider putting out some stuff that will sustain them during the rougher parts of the year. Ideally, big yards would have been planted with the kinds of bushes and grasses that provide shelter and nourishment for the wild animals that normally live there — or would live there if we hadn’t wiped out their habitat.

It’s too late to worry about plantings when the snow starts coming down and the thermometer hovers around freezing. But we can try to make up for that. How? Feed stores and garden centers everywhere have many varieties of wild-animal feed in store. There’ bird seed, obviously, as well as food for squirrels and even deer. (I’ve found Cool’s on East Second in Albany to be very helpful.)

At the stores you can also get advice on what’s best for the kind of wildlife around your place. So go ahead and ask. (hh)

This one's a neighborhood cat, but it gets fed at home.

This one’s a neighborhood cat, but it gets fed at home.


7 responses to “Think about our wildlife in winter”

  1. Grace Peterson says:

    Two sweet chipmunks have taken up residence somewhere on our N. Albany property. We’re feeding them raw (and unsalted) nuts but I don’t think they really need them since mostly they just fill their cheeks, then run away to bury them. Such a small act of kindness can bring such entertainment and joy.

  2. centrist says:

    Sounds cruel, but please don’t feed the wildlife. They become dependent on it. These were fending for themselves long before we bipeds showed up. Beatles song playin’ “Let it be, let it be, there will be an answer……”

  3. James Engel says:

    For once I’ll agree with centrist on one thing & that is to not to feed wild life. Over the years I’ve learned to NOT put out bird seed on the ground or loose in an open feeder. The feathered critters spill most of it & that’s why we’ve had rats – YES, rats – and field mice in our yard. Thus we put out traps to deal with them. Not to mention the possum’s that lunch on the wife’s early spring plantings of veggies. And more traps to get rid of them – two in spring ’16. We put nets under our bird seed feeders to catch spills & greatly lessen the mess on the ground which attracts the vermin! We live in central Albany. JE

  4. Richard Vannice says:

    If you check the statutes I think you will find that it is against the law to feed Deer, Elk, etc. In National Parks there are many postings advising DO NOT FEED ANIMALS this includes, birds, squirrels, chipmunks, etc. I still feel sorry for the birds when most of their food source is covered with snow.

  5. Tony White says:

    Unlike their human counterparts, our wild friends don’t moan and complain and blame others for their plight. They do the best they can with what they’ve got. We have much to learn from the creatures surrounding us.

  6. John Hartman says:

    Hasso, in reading the reactionary comments on your humane choice to feed God’s little creatures, it is disturbing to see the brutally cold recommendations of your readership. One wonders how long they’d last living on the land, shunned by their fellow creatures. It is no wonder Linn County has been named the epicenter of Ayn Rand Land. Maybe our new fearless leader will invest locally.

    • hj.anony1 says:

      Doubtful. You are speaking of our Pres.-elect? He holds a grudge. In addition to being a narcissist If he can’t make a stack of bucks or have his ego stroked, in just the right way, he isn’t going to care. Or worse.

      Prepare! ….we’re in for one helluva carnival ride.


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